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“Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” Samantha Martin said this exact quote in the movie, A Cinderella Story. Throughout the lives of others, they often come across complications that can lead to fears in themselves. It is no lie that fear is everywhere. The past, present, and future of ourselves, include fear. Fearing the past. Fearing the future. Fearing the unknown. People are terrified of going against their fear, resulting in staying away from what they cannot overcome. Fear is what drives one’s determination to its limits. Characters throughout the novel The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, convey certain fears that they attained over time. To avoid the fears in the character’s lives, the characters often make the wrong choices to save their necks in the village. The main dispute that happens in the novel is due to Abigail Williams’ vitriolic language causing innocent people to plead guilty to witchery, hurting them drastically. The novel generally conveys an abundance of characters’ fears, however, unlike The Crucible, Young Goodman Brown, a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne talks about the main character, Goodman Brown’s fears. His fears reach out to him easily since Goodman Brown intentionally gets into a dilemma that he knows is sinful. Similarly, both texts show that fear circles like a pack of wolves surrounding a fawn. The fear of the unknown or the fear of death are discussed in the prompts, however, certain fears are presented in the characters of each writing piece. Characters in the two texts show fear of God’s wrath, lost innocence, and ruined reputation based on a character’s past, the color symbolism, and one’s status which drives one’s self to make the wrong choices.

The characters in both texts convey the fear of a ruined reputation that drives one’s self to make the wrong choices through certain circumstances. One person who fears the most of a ruined reputation is Reverend Parris. When Abigail, Parris’s niece admits that she and Betty, his daughter, danced in the forest, he tries to salvage his image. Dancing in the forest was known as a part of witchery. Parris speculated that if the villagers found out that his family sinned, “[t]hey will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house” (Miller 1.265-266). At that moment, Parris’s daughter was sick, however, all he could think about was his reputation and not his daughter’s health. This fear leads Parris to neglect his daughter’s condition which is selfish of Parris and dangerous for Betty. The fear of a ruined reputation shows one’s true personality, but it also drives them to do the wrong thing. Parris doesn’t have any sangfroid, hearing the panic in his voice, when trying to deny that he saw any witchcraft in Salem, extending the truth to not be heard even longer. Equivalently, Goodman Brown, in Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a pure Christian and has high pride in his family’s history of piety, describing his family tree as “a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path and kept” (Hawthorne 2). At the beginning of the story, he hesitates and looks back at Faith, his wife before heading off to do the task. Goodman Brown knew what he was getting into, yet since he was attempting to act upon this, he decided to continue. Once Goodman Brown sets foot on this journey, he fears his family’s good name will be obliterated if he continues this task made by the devil. However, the devil aforementioned that he had met his family members, and they were not all holy Christians. Not only does the “truth” of his family drive him to keep going, but he also dreams of his wife screaming, leading him to go on.

Hiding the “truth” can lead to others to manipulate others into thinking a certain way. Throughout each text, symbolism is present to describe a character’s fear of lost innocence. Abigail is a key example of someone who manipulates others to get her way. The Crucible is based on Abigail’s manipulative lies that cause innocent people to be arrested. During the play, she tries to wheedle Proctor, the husband of Elizabeth, flirting with him innocently. She tries to convince him to think he is being brainwashed by Elizabeth and that she is not as good as she seems:

blackening my name in

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the village! She is telling lies about me!

She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you

bend to her! (Miller 1.592-595)

The color symbolism of a blackened name symbolizes a name that is not pure and has done something sinful. Abigail fears that if her innocence is lost, Proctor will not like her anymore. This causes Abigail to make up lies about Proctor’s wife to have him for herself. Abigail abominates Elizabeth because Proctor loves Elizabeth and isn’t noncommittal to Abigail and his affair. Her fear of losing her innocence caused her to lie so others would not judge her. Comparing Abigail’s fear of lost innocence, Faith’s lost innocence, in Young Goodman Brown is her pink ribbons floating in the wind. This causes Goodman Brown to believe that his “Faith is gone!” cried he, after one stupefied moment. “There is no good on earth, and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee is this world given” (Hawthorne 7). At the beginning of the story, Faith is shown with pink ribbons in her hair. Pink symbolizes innocence, youth, and femininity. However, Goodman Brown finds Faith’s pink ribbon in the air and not on Faith. The fear of lost innocence makes Goodman Brown react hopelessly. Goodman Brown explains that if there is no good, all there is sin. This shows the key factor that people look at things differently when there is innocence present and when there isn’t.

When there is no innocence in the world, the world becomes a devil’s playground. Many people will sin. When one does sin, a new fear emerges from deep within them. The fear of God’s wrath. As time passes in Young Goodman Brown, Goodman Brown hesitates to continue going. At the end of the story, he is most frightened by “a red light before him, as when the felled trunks and branches of a clearing have been set on fire, and throw up their lurid blaze against the sky, at midnight” (Hawthorne 53). This event that happens in his dream is God’s wrath. The forest fire in his dream expedites throughout the woods, showing that God’s wrath was immense, explaining that what he had down was extremely sinful.

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